When one considers dangerous occupations in Manhattan, it would not be far-fetched to think about the construction workers who build the city’s skyscrapers or the people who work underground to maintain the subway system and traffic tunnels. What probably does not leap to mind is the health care sector. Yet, statistics show workers in health care settings are at higher risk for workplace injury than workers in construction or even the manufacturing industry.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled data related to workplace injuries and found that health care workers, particularly those in private hospital settings, are injured or become ill at a higher rate (six cases for every 100 full-time workers) than most other sectors. Because health care is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, this rate of injury and illness could have a serious economic impact on the sector, as well as on the economy as a whole.

Higher rates of workplace injury and illness result in greater numbers of workers’ compensation claims, which can put a strain on an already-burdened system. Workplace injuries in health care settings are largely due to the physical nature of many of the jobs in the sector. The greatest number of injuries reported by health care workers are caused by other individuals, such as struggling patients.

Slips, trips and falls are also common incidents that result in injuries on the job. Lifting and carrying tasks, like moving patients or equipment, account for many of the sprains and other muscular injuries reported by workers. These risks combine with a workplace where the chances of contracting an illness from contact with patients are much higher than in other settings. All these factors combine to render health care settings some of the most dangerous places for workers.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Hospital workers: an assessment of occupational injuries and illnesses,” accessed Apr. 24, 2018